Memorial Drive Tennis Club

Memorial Drive Tennis Club

Our History

by Bernard Whimpress

This History is now available from our office at $10.00 a copy! Memorial Drive is one of the worlds great tennis clubs. It is full of tradition, and for more than seventy years has been the headquarters of South Australian tennis. For all that time it has produced grass courts which have ranked with the world's best.

MDTC Began life as the South Australian Lawn Tennis Club in 1914

The history of Memorial Drive is unusual in that the site was registered to the South Australian Lawn Terms Association and became the South Australian Lawn Tennis Club when it split off the state and national activities to a new association in 1968-69.

'Memorial Drive’ took its name from the winding avenue known as War Memorial Drive which follows the River Torrens from Hackney through North Adelaide.

The South Australian Lawn Tennis Association (SALTA) leased about six acres of ground on Park 22 in the South Park Lands between Goodwood and the Bay Roads for 21 years from 2 April 1914 at a rent of £30 per annum with £1000 to be expended within the granting of the lease. The trustees of the SALTA could terminate the lease after 2 April 1917 on giving three months notice in writing.

Progress was slow. In November 1915 the Council decided that the matter of suspending the lease should be held over until April 1916 when the rental was due, and that SALTA should be approached about depasturing on the site in the interim.

With the war ended and the lease on the South Parklands expiring the following ApriI the question to be answered was whether the SALTA was still interested in the Park 26 site. A poll of ratepayers to determine the issue was held on 7 November 1919. The poll results showed 3578 persons favoured the new lease, 1749 opposed with 78 informal votes cast.

Courts Opened in October 1921

The courts were opened in October 1921 by the Governor of South Australia Sir Archibald Weigall and Gerald Patterson won the first South Australian Men's Singles Championship in 1922, the year in which he also won Wimbledon for the second time. From this time the SALTA also acted as a club with playing and -non-playing members.

The association/club was the controlling body of tennis in South Australia. In 1923 a clubhouse and grandstand was erected, the northern grandstand being the former stand from Adelaide Oval which was dismantled and reassembled near its old home.

Jack Hawkes was the first Australian Men’ Singles Champion.

Over the years the Drive has been the venue for many major tennis events and in 1926 Geelong left-hander Jack Hawkes became not only the first winner of the Australian men’ singles staged at the Drive, but took the doubles with Patterson, and mixed doubles with Esne Boyd as well. Daphne Ackhurst won the second of her five Australian titles.

Latest News & Events

Open Day 2017

Opening day for the tennis courts was held on Saturday 7th October, 2017


Redevelopment of courts

MDTC members agreed (via a special vote) that the Tennis Australia proposal to redevelop the courts may proceed


Summer Competition Commences soon

This item contains the start dates for summer competition tennis


Henry Young

Today Tonight special on Henry Young


Internal Social Competition

Register your interest in the MDTC internal social competition starting on Wednesday 4/October!


MDTC Postal Box

The Memorial Drive Tennis club has a new Post Office Box PO Box 383, North Adelaide SA 5006.